Volunteers in Chicago offering to help Afghan refugees
CHICAGO - A refugee resettlement agency in Chicago says at least two people from Afghanistan have arrived and it's staffing up for more.
President Joe Biden's national security advisor on Monday declined to say how many are expected, but spoke of those volunteering to help.
"We are deeply moved by the outpouring of support from so many Americans -- so many of them veterans -- to help the Afghan evacuees, those Afghans at risk, our Afghan allies settle here in the United States. This is the best of the American spirit and we look forward to working with them," said National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan.
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RefugeeOne, an agency based on the North Side of Chicago, told WBEZ radio that at least two Afghans fleeing the Taliban takeover there have arrived in the city.
Critics of resettling such immigrants in Chicago raised questions about how refugees are being vetted to assure potential terrorists will not be allowed into the United States.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki late Monday defended his handling of the crisis, underscored by scenes in the capital city, Kabul.
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"Just over a week ago, we did not have control over the airport. Now we've evacuated 37,000 people. That is American leadership. And that is certainly competence of his team," Psaki said.
The pace of that operation is increasing dramatically with the Taliban now demanding that the evacuation cease a week from Tuesday. A State Department spokesman said that in the last 24 hours, more than 16,000 people flew out of Kabul Airport on 89 American and coalition aircraft. There was no breakdown of how many of those people are U.S. or allied citizens and how many are Afghan refugees.